The Bishin Cutter wrote:
I think the Big Ten only took that line after their views were in a minority among the power conferences. Because, up until this system, you had Big Ten folks saying anti-playoff things like only wanting to play themselves, the false concern over student athlete's lives (copying the Ivy League defense), the importance of the Rose Bowl, and then, maybe the concession: their support for the +1 model.
The system we have now, +1-ish and years behind when the call for it really arose...that's the Big and PAC's doings.
I think the Big Ten's CFB utopia would be something unwatchable. It would be a MAC game for the photo-ops, a PAC game, and the rest of the season filled with other Big Ten games, with the best squad getting the trip to Pasadena. Until they can get more of what they want out of the structure (it's not just money), they'll sit on playoff expansion and other matters and lobby for status quo.
What concerns me is that the conference clearly doesn't want a true championship, and can boast some sense of success with the models they've been using. I cringe at OSU's national championship. It was such a pitiful year for the Big Ten overall, but they still enjoy packed mega-stadiums, a respectable media contract, and steer clear of a lot of competition in the non-conference. The system, when it placed Ohio State ahead of both TCU and Baylor, kind of enables the Big Ten to continue making CFB worse for everyone other than themselves.
That's a good post, Bishin Cutter. I do think the B1G has that traditionalist mantra with a protectionist approach while pursing revenue enhancements based on their size, lofty image, and carried influence. Their impressive work has not necessarily been about expansion choices, whereby there were one or two missed opportunities, and a little bit of messiness in the processes. Where the B1G excelled particularly in recent years, were with marketing, programming, and investing, i. e., BTN/auxiliary broadcasting, quality bowl deals in Florida and elsewhere, sponsorship, enhancing value in Olympic-style sports, etc.
All this hullabaloo about deregulation and getting a conference rep into the 4-team playoffs along with the B12's dilemma of operating with only ten members does have consequences regarding the playoff selection process. Now, the discussions have shifted basically to 'which conference will miss having a rep in the playoffs each year'? Bowlsby was pressing for both Baylor and TCU, or at least one of the two, to end up in the playoffs last year if one or two CCG upsets happened or if the selection committee held such games in lower esteem. So, the B12 was fundamentally DEPENDING on CCG upsets, or less meaningful results, in other P5 conferences while not having such a game themselves. Call it an aversion or hypocritical, it's throwing the dice and the B12 came up short on that one.
Remember the build-up last year and beforehand, when so many were claiming that the playoffs would be stacked with SEC teams? I was near alone in saying that will not happen, not because I viewed the SEC lacked high quality, elite fb teams. They have them. But the point was made that the SEC DOES, like others, have to play each other in divisional-focused head-ons'. Lose two of them and a school is basically out of consideration. Ohio State used that to their advantage, sweeping their conference brethren.
With the new emphasis on CCGs', which the B12 rejects, it will hurt conferences in particular years that could have two, or theoretically, even three, polling in the top four. With this current thinking and motivation for strategic inclusiveness, there would be no BCS-style #1 vs #2 Alabama-LSU re-match. That year, it was largely viewed those were the two best.
Therefore, given the recent fuss, it will be extremely difficult for a conference to place two reps in a 4-team playoff. The problem is further compounded that at least one P5 conference is not going to participate. But, the strength of the "only one" assumed criteria for not being left-out, has grown stronger since the CCG has risen in importance. Thus, in retrospect, the B1G has gotten, by default, much of what they wanted in the 'assured conference rep' domain argument. The SEC argument of the 'four best' remains in theory, but not necessarily with practicality, unless it becomes a rare, strange year.
The B12, composed of fine schools, needs to stop playing victim on this, and correct course. That is the conference, by their antics in pressing the issue, only uplifted the CCG importance. The B12's resolution for their predicament is not the job of the playoff committee to fix, or the other P5 conferences to validate through comprehensive deregulation, which is not a fix but an allowance.